The Director of Liquor Licensing to issue prohibition orders

One of the significant legislative changes the Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA) (Act) introduced in May 2007 was the empowerment of the Director of Liquor Licensing to issue prohibition orders.  These orders can be made when the Commissioner of Police applies to prohibit persons from either:

  1. entering licensed premises; or

  2. being employed by a licensee to work in licensed premises.

Under the Act, the Director can prohibit a person from entering licensed premises for a maximum of five years.  However, the Commissioner of Police can apply to have the prohibition extended at the end of the five year period.

Initially, prohibition orders were used sparingly.  Only six such orders were issued between 2007 and 2009.  However, there has been a significant increase in prohibition order applications by the Commissioner of Police in 2010 with over 50 prohibition orders being issued this year alone.

There has only been one successful defence to a prohibition order.  In that instance, the respondent took the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court where the order was overturned on procedural fairness principles.  The case was not a challenge to the Director’s power or on the facts.

The Act does not contemplate licensees being held liable for serving or admitting a prohibited person on licensed premises.  However, licensees are liable and subject to a $10,000 fine if they knowingly employ or continue to employ a prohibited person.

The recently introduced amendment bill, if passed by Parliament, will also allow the Commissioner of Police (or delegate) to issue a barring notice to individuals if the Commissioner believes, on reasonable grounds, the person has on those particular premises been:

  1. violent, quarrelsome or disorderly;

  2. engaged in indecent behaviour; or

  3. contravened a provision of any written law.

Barring notices will only allow the Commissioner to ban a person from entering a specified premises or a specified class of premises for a maximum period of 12 months.

If you have any queries about prohibition orders or the effect on licensed premises, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Mossenson, Partner on (08) 9288 6769 / dan.mossenson@lavanlegal.com.au or Alec Weston, Solicitor on (08) 9288 6873 / alec.weston@lavanlegal.com.au

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.